Sheffield United: Chris Wilder makes an admission ahead of Barnsley clash

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder applauds the fans
Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder applauds the fans

Chris Wilder has rubbished suggestions the prospect of a South Yorkshire derby against Barnsley will help Sheffield United recover from the disappointment of passing-up another opportunity to climb back into the play-off positions, insisting they “treat every match the same.”

United appeared destined to overtake sixth-placed Middlesbrough after taking a first-half lead over Cardiff City on Monday before conceding an equaliser in added time.

The result means they enter Saturday’s match at Oakwell ninth in the Championship table and point behind Tony Pulis’ side, who visit Bramall Lane next week.

“I don’t think we change out attitude to any game,” Wilder said. “It makes no odds if it was 400 or 500 miles away or a seven iron up the road. They are always going to be competitive games.

“There are always going to be unpredictable results. We just need to keep playing well, keep trying to force the issue and hopefully get ourselves in there.”

“The type of match it is, be it a derby or whatever, doesn’t change what we do or our approach. We’ve come this far by being positive, by going for results and that’s not going to change between now and the end of the season. No way at all. We give everything whenever we step out on the pitch. It doesn’t matter if it’s a derby or not. We treat every match the same.”

United are expected to discover the extent of the injury centre-half Richard Stearman suffered during the meeting with City when they return to training this morning. Stearman, who failed to complete August’s meeting between the two clubs in Wales, limped-off midway through the second-half and was replaced by Jake Wright.

Wilder also hopes Mark Duffy, United’s influential play-maker, will be declared fit after missing the Easter programme with a groin complaint.

“We’re in pretty good shape,” Wilder continued. “A few of the lads are carrying knocks, the usual type of thing, but other than Paul Coutts, who is obviously out for the season, I think we’re in good nick.

“All of the lads are pushing hard for a place and that’s good to see because it’s all to play for. There are some massive games coming up for us; they all are in fact.”

United play the first of those when they make the short trip to Barnsley, where José Morais’ team will be hoping to end a run of six outings without a win.

“We’ll have another sold-out following up there I’m sure,” Wilder said. “That backing has been crucial to giving the lads the belief to play the way they do.”